Kangaroo Paw, terracotta pots, rosemary and salvia

Backyard Gardening: How to Plant a Mediterranean Garden

The Bay Area is nothing short of botanical paradise for those interested in incorporating a Mediterranean garden in their landscaping. Shared with just two percent of the world, the Bay Area’s Mediterranean climate is found in only four other district regions: the Mediterranean basin and parts of South Africa, Chile and Australia.

What Will You Find In A Mediterranean Garden?

kangaroo paw

While a wide variety of plants will grow in our area given sufficient summer watering, a Mediterranean garden thrives off of specific natural conditions:

  • Warm summers with limited rainfall
  • Moist, cool winters
  • Alkaline soil

Generally speaking plants in a Mediterranean garden tend to have minimal flowers instead devoting their growth into beautifully-colored evergreen foliage. Tightly spaced leaves with a silvery-green tint appear on many of these evergreen plants. The foilage spacing and coloring help them to reflect sunlight and keep cool while preserving their water stores.

The majority of plants that thrive in a Mediterranean garden are susceptible to root rot if overwatered, so ensure that your soil drains well and offer only occasional supplemental moisture during the hottest months. Too much phosphorus can also damage foliage and cause the plant to die back, so phosphorus intake should be kept in mind when considering fertilizers.

SummerWinds’ Favorite Plants For Your Mediterranean Garden

If you’re interested in crafting your own Mediterranean garden, here are some of our favorite plants that you can find in the outdoor aisles of SummerWinds’ stores.


Bougainvillea is one of the exceptions to the flowering rule, offering blooms in beautiful vibrant colors almost year-round. Native to South America, bougainvillea needs at least six hours of direct sun a day to flower profusely and look its best. Water it well once every three or four weeks, give it a trellis to climb and you’ll be rewarded with a vibrant splash of color.

Mexican feather grass

Mexican Feather Grass

With wispy, lime-green foliage, this fine grass will sway in the lightest of breezes making it a whimsical addition to a Mediterranean garden. It needs dry soil and full sun to thrive and retains its beautiful color year-round . Within those conditions, it is known to self-seed and spread. Make sure you give it room to fill in or regularly remove new growth.

African Daisy

As the name implies, these beautiful daisies are native to parts of Africa and will bloom repeatedly from May through the fall in your Mediterranean garden. They thrive in both garden beds and containers placed in full sun, but do appreciate a little shade during the hottest part of the day. They will require about an inch of supplemental water each week.

New Zealand Tea Tree

This evergreen shrub is part of the myrtle family with short, tightly packed leaves. It loves full sun to partial shade, and can grow up to 20 feet high depending on the variety. Smaller varieties can be grown in containers and shaped into decorative shrubs.

acacia tree

Acacia Tree

Acacia trees are fast growers and add a lovely touch to a Mediterranean garden, but usually only live 20-30 years. Their sturdy roots reach far underground, which makes them a popular choice for preventing soil erosion. Other characteristics are their sharp thorns and unpleasant taste that discourages deer from nibbling on the foliage.

Kangaroo Paw

Depending on the species you buy, a kangaroo paw can range in height anywhere from 18 inches to a towering 6 feet tall. Their striking red flowers act as a flag for pollinators, and make a beautiful border in a Mediterranean garden especially around the edges of a walkway or garden bed. Kangaroo paw needs direct sun and well-drained soil.

woolly bush

Woolly Bush

This shrub lives up to its name, featuring luxuriously soft evergreen needles that make a lovely addition to any Mediterranean garden. Despite its delicate appearance, this bush can reach 10 feet tall and is drought tolerant during even the hottest parts of the summer.

Plan Your Mediterranean Garden At SummerWinds

This is just a small sampling of the Mediterranean garden plants we carry at our three Bay Area locations. You can stop in at any one and talk to our gardening experts about what you have in mind. They will be more than happy to help make recommendations on both plants and décor to capture the feeling of a true Mediterranean garden.

About SummerWinds Nursery: SummerWinds Garden Centers is a leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the west. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.